IHG One Rewards Premier card review: A benefit-rich, must-have card for anyone even considering an IHG stay this year



Our take: The IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card may command a $99 annual fee (which is $99 more than its baby brother, the IHG One Rewards Traveler) but it piles on the perks and benefits to compensate. With a 140,000-point welcome bonus (after meeting the minimum spending requirement), instant Platinum Elite status (granting free upgrades/early check-in), up to 16X on IHG purchases, an automatic free anniversary night, and $150 in travel credits it’s virtually impossible not to glean $99 worth of value from this card. 

That said, its IHG One Rewards points are really only good towards future IHG stays and upgrades so it’s no good as a general-use travel card. And if you’d rather not have yet-another annual fee to worry about—regardless of value—the Traveler card is a better fit. 

But if you’re even considering staying at an IHG property this year (Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza etc.), the IHG One Rewards Premier card is a must-have. 

Pros

  • Staggering welcome bonus which when leveraged properly could get you over a week of stays
  • Automatic Platinum Elite status grants free upgrades and early check-in
  • The card’s base 10X combines with free IHG membership (10X) and automatic Platinum Elite status (6X) for a net 26X on IHG purchases
  • Fourth night free on award bookings
  • Automatic free night each year instantly covers the $99 annual fee
  • Up to $150 worth of travel-related statement credits
  • Travel insurance and purchase protection top off an impressive overall package

Cons

  • IHG points are only worth roughly 0.7 cents each
  • No cash redemption, and non-IHG redemption options (shopping, mile transfers) are a poor value
  • Anniversary free night capped at 40k points in value (~$280), though you can book a more expensive stay by adding additional point to the certificate
  • If you rarely or never stay at an IHG property, you won’t get your money’s worth from this card

IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card Highlights

Card type: Hotel rewards, Travel rewards

  • Welcome Bonus: Earn 140,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening (worth up to four nights at over 4,800 IHG properties).
  • Annual Fee: $99
  • Rewards: 
    • 10X on IHG purchases 
    • 5X points on travel, gas stations, and restaurants
    • 3X points on all other purchases

IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card Overview

The IHG One Rewards credit cards are like Hollywood’s Hemsworth brothers. 

The IHG One Rewards Traveler Credit Card is Liam: Affordable, multi-talented, and perfectly capable of standing on its own. An 80,000-point welcome bonus is incredibly generous for a $0 annual fee rewards card, and earning up to 7X on IHG purchases is a compelling reason to keep this card in your drawer for when it’s time to book an IHG stay. 

But the IHG One Rewards Premier card is Chris Hemsworth—yeah, the guy who played Thor. It’s more expensive but it’s also a step up  in every way, boasting a massive 140,000-point welcome bonus worth up to four free nights, a base 10X on IHG purchases (plus Platinum Elite status which adds 6X), and an automatic free night worth up to 40,000 points on your account anniversary, among many other things. 

There’s no wrong choice between the two, but if you’re even considering staying at an IHG property for a few nights this year, it’s worth the extra cost to have Thor in your wallet. 

Westworld fans, we haven’t forgotten Luke, but he is in a different league than his siblings. Let’s call him the IHG One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card and save him for another day. 

Who is the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card good for?

The IHG One Rewards Premier card is ideal for anyone who thinks they’ll stay at least two nights at an IHG property each year. If you stay less than that, you may prefer the no-annual-fee, commitment-free IHG One Rewards Traveler card. 

For reference, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) comprises 19 hotel brands across over 6,000 properties, including: 

  • Atwell Suites
  • Avid
  • Candlewood Suites
  • Crowne Plaza
  • Even
  • Garner
  • Holiday Inn
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations
  • Holiday Inn Express
  • Hotel Indigo
  • Hualuxe
  • Iberostar Beachfront Resorts
  • InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
  • Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
  • Regent
  • Six Senses
  • Staybridge Suites
  • Vignette Collection
  • Vovo

The  IHG One Rewards Premier card is a no-brainer for even the most mildly committed IHG patrons because its annual, renewable benefits vastly outweigh its annual fee. Heck, two of its best benefits are unavoidable; you’ll score one free night and Platinum Elite status automatically each year, which can easily be worth more than enough to justify paying $99 each year. 

Who shouldn’t get the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card?

If none of the hotels in the  IHG chain appeal to you whatsoever, and you simply want a card to have in your desk in case you happen to book an IHG property in the future, you’ll probably be happier with the IHG One Rewards Traveler card instead. 

The Premier’s little sibling, the Traveler, charges no annual fee and still offers a 80,000-point welcome bonus plus earns up to 7X on IHG purchases. You’ll get to keep the “redeem three, get one night free” perk, too. 

If you’re looking for an all-purpose travel rewards card, neither IHG card is a fit due to the fact that the card’s most practical use is to redeem points for IHG nights. For a more versatile travel card that allows for flights, hotels, cash back and more, check out our list of the best travel credit cards of 2024. 

IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card: How to earn rewards

The IHG One Rewards Premier card offers the following ways to earn points: 

  • 10X on IHG purchases
  • 5X points on travel, gas stations, and restaurants
  • 3X points on all other purchases

The advantage of the Premier’s 10X category compared to, say, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card card’s 10X category is that the former stacks with your other hotel rewards. So when you book a stay at Hotel Indigo using your IHG One Rewards Premier card, you’ll earn 10X for using the card, 10X for being an IHG One Rewards Premier member and 6X for having Platinum Elite status (automatic with the card) for a total of 26X. 

By contrast, if you booked your stay using your Capital One Venture X card, you could earn 10X by booking through the Capital One travel portal or 12X by booking directly with Hotel Indigo (2X on the Capital One side, 10X on the IHG side by being an IHG One Rewards member). 

Aside from 16X on IHG purchases, the IHG One Rewards Premier card also offers an impressive 140,000-point welcome bonus worth nearly $1,000 towards IHG redemptions. A welcome bonus worth nearly 10 times the card’s annual fee is impressive.

Lastly, it’s definitely worth mentioning the 3X catch-all category. Sure, IHG One Rewards points may only be worth about 0.7 cents a pop, but that still means you’ll generate about  2.1 cents’ worth of IHG One Rewards toward your next IHG stay with every dollar spent. 

So the IHG One Rewards Premier card is undeniably rewarding in terms of points—but what can you use those points for? 

How to redeem IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card rewards 

As mentioned, a single IHG One Rewards point is worth around 0.7 cents when redeemed for IHG stays and upgrades. If you utilize the fourth night free benefit, play IHG’s dynamic pricing model to your advantage, and shake up your dates and properties, you can sometimes stretch the value to 1 cent a pop or more. 

What you won’t want to do, however, is redeem them for airline miles. Most of IHG’s 41 airline partners only accept IHG One Rewards points at a 5:1 ratio, if they even accept them at all. So even if your miles would be worth 2 cents each, you’d have to redeem 10,000 IHG points for 2,000 miles worth $400, which makes little sense when you could use them for a hotel stay worth up to $800. 

So it probably comes as no surprise that you’ll want to save your IHG points for IHG stays and upgrades only. But just for good measure, here are the other redemption options on the table: 

  • Free nights and upgrades
  • Points and cash (i.e. combining points with cash for a booking)
  • Experiences/tours
  • IHG One Rewards Access (e.g. courtside tickets, VIP concert tickets etc.)
  • Gift cards and shopping
  • Points donations
  • Digital rewards (e.g. magazines, eBooks, movies)
  • Transfers to one of IHG’s 41 airline partners

IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card rates and fees

As far as rates and fees go, the IHG One Rewards Premier is pretty standard fare for a premium hotel rewards card. There are no foreign transaction fees—so you won’t get charged an extra 3% for your cab ride in Dubai—but there’s also no intro 0% APR period, so be sure to fully pay off your charges to the card with each statement balance.

  • Annual fee: $99
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Regular APR: 21.49%–28.49% variable

Additional benefits

If you were worried about getting enough benefits to justify the Premier card’s $99 annual fee, don’t be. For starters, you get a free anniversary night worth up to 40,000 points every year and that perk alone could be worth around $280. On top of that you’ll get automatic Platinum Elite status (with free upgrades/early check-in), a $100 statement credit towards a TSA Precheck, Global Entry or NEXUS application fee every four years and several travel-related insurances and protections. So for benefit value alone, this card gets an easy 10/10.

  • Anniversary free night, earned on the date of your account anniversary and worth up to 40,000 points.
  • Automatic Platinum Elite status grants you free upgrades (when available), early check-in, reward night discounts, 72-hour guaranteed room availability, and more.
  • Redeem three nights, get the fourth free lets you cash in points for a three- night stay and score a fourth for zero points. Only applies to four consecutive nights at the same property during the same stay.
  • Earn a $100 statement credit plus 10,000 points after spending $20,000 within a calendar year ( worth roughly $1,667 per month). Although $20,000 is a high spending limit to earn roughly $190 in value (<1%) it’s appreciated nonetheless.
  • Up to $100 TSA Precheck, Global Entry or NEXUS statement credit every four years as reimbursement for your application fee(s).
  • Up to $50 United Airlines TravelBank Cash each year after linking your IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card with your UA MileagePlus account.
  • Earn Diamond Elite status after spending $40,000 total in a calendar year. Diamond Elite increases your status-based points boost from 6X to 10X and adds better welcome amenity options (including hot breakfast for two) and Dedicated Diamond Support agents.
  • Travel insurance including trip cancellation/interruption Insurance ($5,000/person, $10,000/trip), lost luggage reimbursement ($3,000/passenger), baggage delay insurance ($100/day for three days). 
  • Purchase protection of up to $500 per claim, $50,000 per account to cover select purchases that were stolen or damaged within 120 days of purchase. 

You’ll also get one year of complimentary DoorDash DashPass (which now includes Caviar aka DoorDash for nice restaurants) and My Chase Plan, which lets you pay off purchases of $100 or greater over time with a fixed monthly fee. 

Credit cards similar to IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card

Chris and Liam Hemsworth have never appeared in a film together, so although we’ll never be able to compare the two side-by-side on the big screen, we can do a side-by-side comparison of their credit card equivalents. And while we’re at it, let’s see how the IHG One Rewards Premier card stands up to the travel rewards champ, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.  

IHG One Rewards Traveler Credit Card vs. IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card

The IHG One Rewards Premier card’s less-expensive sibling, the Traveler, still offers an 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening, a combined 7X on IHG purchases, and also offers the same  redeem on the three nights, get one night free deal. It’s the “lite” offering for sure, but it still packs a punch value-wise with that up to two-night welcome bonus and a combined 7X on IHG purchases. 

If you think you might book a stay at an IHG property each year, but you’re not sure, the Traveler card is the better pick since you won’t spend the $99 annual fee if you decide to stay elsewhere. In general, it’s the better card to have if you like having a drawer full of hotel and airline rewards cards, without any annual fees to track. 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs. IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card earned our pick for best starter travel card for a few reasons. For starters, new cardholders can earn a 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening worth $750 in travel redemption through Chase, 5X on travel booked through Chase and Lyft, 3x points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs), 2x points on travel purchases and 1x points on other purchases. You’ll also get a $50 statement credit once you book a hotel stay of two nights or more through Chase, and IHG properties are included. 

Plus, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth more than IHG One Rewards points, redeemable for a penny each in cash or 1.25 cents for travel booked through Chase. 

As a result of its versatility, the CSP is the better choice if you aren’t loyal to a particular hotel or airline and you only want one travel rewards card that does it all. But if you’re even semi-loyal to IHG, there’s little reason not to have both since each card can easily generate over $100 in value each year if you take advantage of their benefits. 

Is the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card right for you?

To help you decide, have a look at the 19 IHG property brands listed at the top of this review. If you see one and think “Yep, I’ll probably stay there at least a night or two this year,” then the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card is for you.. 

As long as you stay at least two nights per year at an IHG property, you’ll get enough value to make the card;s annual fee worth it. 

Even if you rarely use the card, you’ll still benefit on your IHG stays with the  Platinum Elite status and a free night each year worth up to 40k points. 

But if you shun having another recurring fee to worry about, the Traveler is a solid option, too. 

Frequently asked questions

What is the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card’s annual fee?

What is 140,000 IHG One Rewards points worth?

  • IHG claims it’s worth up to four nights at over 4,800 properties in the brand’s portfolio. Although there’s no cash back option, its cash equivalent is roughly between $700 to $1,260 depending on which property and dates you choose. 

What is the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card’s credit limit? 

  • Credit limits are based on the applicant’s FICO score and reported income. But you can expect at least $2,000 to start, ranging all the way up to $10,000+. 

Please note that card details are accurate as of the publish date, but are subject to change at any time at the discretion of the issuer. Please contact the card issuer to verify rates, fees, and benefits before applying.



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